Thu May 22, 2014
Cummings Named To Benghazi Panel, Cardin To Monitor Ukraine Election, & The AA County Exec. Race
Congressman Elijah Cummings will serve on a new House select committee to investigate the 2012 terror attack on the U.S. embassy in Benghazi. US Senator Ben Cardin will visit Ukraine this weekend, as part of a delegation that will monitor that country's presidential election. Plus: a report on the Anne Arundel County Executive's race, another "secret audit" of Baltimore's speed camera system, complaints about GOP gubernatorial hopeful Larry Hogan's use of "Change Maryland" in his campaign, and much more.
Cummings Named To Benghazi Panel: House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi has named five Democrats to serve on a new House select committee to investigate the 2012 terror attack on the U.S. embassy in Benghazi, Libya, which killed four Americans. One of the Congressmen who will serve on the panel is 7th District Representative Elijah Cummings. Cummings says there is one main reason why he is on this committee: “to defend the truth.” Cummings says House Republicans have not been up front about their intentions in the investigation – and notes that many questions about the attack have been answered, following hearings on the House Oversight Committee, where Cummings serves as the ranking Democrat. The Baltimore Sun has more.
Cardin To Monitor Ukraine Election: US Senator Ben Cardin is headed to Ukraine this weekend. He’ll be part of a congressional delegation that will monitor the country’s presidential election. Cardin says the delegation will visit and monitor polling places around the country, and make sure that people can get to the polls without intimidation. The Baltimore Sun has more.
Who’s A Better Republican? The Republican Primary for Anne Arundel County Executive can be considered a rematch of sorts between the incumbent – Laura Neuman – and Delegate Steve Schuh. The County Council chose Neuman over Schuh last year to finish the term of John Leopold, who resigned after his conviction for misconduct in office. Now, Neuman and Schuh are competing to face Democrat George Johnson, the former county Sherriff, in November. WYPR’s Kenneth Burns reports that the race comes down to a choice between a relative political novice and an experienced politician.
University (And City) Lucky To Have Schmoke: Former Baltimore Mayor Kurt Schmoke finds himself in a familiar situation. He’s taking a new job, where he’ll succeed a dynamic leader. The new job this time is President of the University of Baltimore. The leader, retiring President Robert Bogomolny. WYPR’s Senior News Analyst Fraser Smith comments in his weekly essay.
Board Of Elections To Review Hogan Campaign’s Use Of “Change Maryland”: Republican gubernatorial hopeful Larry Hogan is being accused of violating state election laws by two of his rivals in the GOP primary. Harford County Executive David Craig and Delegate Ron George are calling on the State Board of Elections to look into charges that the advocacy group Hogan founded -- Change Maryland LLC – illegally coordinated with the candidate's official campaign committee. A spokesperson for the Hogan campaign tells the Baltimore Sun that the allegations are “false,” and says ownership of “Change Maryland” was taken over by the Hogan campaign when he entered the governor’s race, with guidance from the Board of Elections. Hogan’s rivals are calling for the Board to issue a report before the June 24th primary election. The Board of Elections says that a review will be conducted “in a timely fashion” – but wouldn’t commit to issuing a ruling before the primary; the Board tells the Washington Post that the case involves “complex issues that need to be analyzed.” The Capital Gazette has more here.
Hogan’s Camp Says It’s Reached Public Financing Requirement: Larry Hogan’s gubernatorial campaign says it has met the requirement to qualify for public financing. If the Board of Elections confirms Hogan’s fundraising figures, Hogan’s would the first Republican gubernatorial campaign to get matching funds since 1994. Under public financing rules, Hogan would get $2.6 million for the general election, but in exchange would have to stop fundraising for his own campaign. The Baltimore Sun has more.
Baltimore Speed Camera Audit, #2: It seems there was a second secret audit of Baltimore's troubled speed camera program. The Baltimore Sun obtained a copy of the report showing an error rate for 75 cameras of 5.5 percent. A first secret audit obtained by the newspaper in January found a more than ten percent error rate at 37 cameras. Accuracy concerns led Baltimore to shut down its entire speed and red light camera program a year ago.
Health Exchange Board Found To Have Violated Open Meetings Law: Maryland’s Open Meetings Compliance Board says that the board that oversees the state’s health insurance exchange repeatedly violated the state’s open meetings law. A complaint filed against the board said that it held almost 50 behind-closed-doors meetings, and then failed to comply with state law by not explaining why the public wasn’t allowed to attend, or releasing a summary of what was discussed. The meetings were held while the state’s health exchange website was suffering massive technical problems; at one of the meetings in question, the board voted to fire the company that was hired to build the website. The Washington Post has more.
School Lunch Prices To Rise In Anne Arundel: The cost of school lunches is going up in Anne Arundel County. Yesterday, the County school board approved 15-cent increases for next academic year. Secondary school lunches are going up to $3 and elementary school students will pay $2.75. Breakfast is also going up 15-cents, to $1.50
Uber Comes To Annapolis: Just in time for events at the Naval Academy, the rideshare service Uber is operating in Annapolis. Uber launched in Baltimore over a year ago, and yesterday, began offering its services to the Annapolis market. The move comes as the company’s future is in doubt; the state’s Public Service Commission is considering regulating Uber and other rideshare services under the same rules that apply to traditional taxis. A spokesperson for Uber tells the Baltimore Sun that it would appeal any PSC decision that imposes new rules on the company.
Baltimore Baseball: The Orioles fell to the Pittsburgh Pirates in last night’s game; 9 to 8 was the score. The O’s return to Camden Yards tonight, where they’ll begin a four-game series against the Cleveland Indians. First pitch is set for 7:05pm.
Washington Baseball: The Washington Nationals lost yesterday’s game against the Cincinnati Reds; the score there: 1 to 2.
Baltimore Football: Don't look for the name on the Ravens' stadium to change anytime soon. The Ravens and M&T Bank have announced a new ten-year, $60-million extension of their partnership, which includes naming rights for the stadium. The initial partnership was a 15-year deal signed in 2003, and the new agreement extends through 2027. The Baltimore Sun has more.